Warmer weather on the horizon? Be sun safe

With warmer weather predicted this weekend here are a few tips to help you enjoy the sun safely and look out for others, especially the vulnerable such as the older people, young children and those with serious illnesses.

Top advice for being sun safe if outdoors for more than 20 minutes between 11am-3pm:

  • Wear UV sunglasses, preferably wraparound, to reduce UV exposure to the eyes, walk in the shade, apply sunscreen of at least SPF15 with UVA protection and a wide brimmed hat. Wear light, loose-fitting cotton clothes. This should minimise the risk of sunburn
  • Drink lots of cool drinks, avoiding alcohol
  • Seek shade
  • Look out for others

It’s nice that the sun is shining and we can all enjoy a taste of summer – but it’s important to remember that rising heat does bring health risks for some.

For the time being we recommend that people keep an eye on the weather forecast for the coming days and if it gets hotter consider avoiding the sun between 11am and 3pm, drink plenty of fluids and keep an eye out for children and older people.

It’s important to make the most of the good weather but equally important that people don’t get too much sun or heat and make themselves ill.

For more information on sun safety, visit http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/skin/Pages/Sunsafe.aspx

Buffaloes raise £3k for Urology Treatment Centre

Our Urology Treatment Centre has been presented with a cheque for £3,000 by the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes.

The money was handed to Consultant Urologist, Stuart McCracken by former Chairman, Bob Gardner. Mr Gardner chose the Urology Department as the lodge’s local charity because of the treatment both he and Deputy Chairman, Derek Thaxter has received within the unit. They were joined by current Chairman, Dave Henderson who has selected the Niall Quinn Children’s Centre as the next chosen charity for the Sunderland based lodge. Fundraising has already started with a sponsored bike ride from Berwick to Sunderland.

The Buffaloes meet at lodges across the country every week and organise fundraising and social events to raise money for local good causes and charities. All lodges contribute to the chosen charities.

Mr Gardner, Mr Henderson and Mr Thaxter were also joined by Urology Ward Manager, Rob Common, Staff Nurse, Deborah Anconley and HCA, Margaret Old.

Thank you so much for this very kind donation!

City Hospitals Sunderland to open new Emergency Department

We will be opening the doors to our new Emergency Department on Thursday and would like to thank the public for their patience and co-operation during the build.

The Emergency Department, formerly known as A&E, is located at the front of the hospital and can be easily accessed from Kayll or Chester Road. There will be two separate entrances; one for adult emergencies and one for children’s emergencies Ambulance arrivals have a dedicated entrance.

After 6am on June 8th, anyone with serious or life threating conditions should come to the new Emergency Department for treatment, or call 999.

Anthony Watson, Matron and Project Lead for Emergency Care, said: “We would like to thank the public for their patience during the development of our new Emergency Department. Despite the geographical split of the department during the transition phase, patients and staff have been absolutely fantastic. By having one dedicated space moving forward, we will be able to greatly improve patient flow and treat those with serious or life threatening conditions more efficiently.

“The concept of one accident and emergency department is changing. We now have urgent care centres across the city, which can provide things like X-rays, which before have only been available in hospitals.

“The Emergency Department is a very busy unit, generally seeing around 105,000 patients every year. For this reason we need to appeal to the public and ask them to consider whether they really need emergency care, or if the NHS 111 service, urgent care centre, GP or pharmacy would be a more appropriate option.

“We will always have to prioritise who we see in terms of who requires the most urgent care. This includes people with significant injury and blood loss, chest pain, breathing difficulties and suspected stroke. Anyone coming into the ED with minor illness or injury is more likely to have a much longer wait, or to be referred to another NHS service. We would urge you to choose well and help us to dedicate our time and resources to the people who really need it the most. If you’re not sure you can call NHS 111 for free and they will assess your symptoms and direct you to the right medical care.”

There are a number of urgent care centres across Sunderland, open Monday to Friday 10am – 10pm and Saturday, Sunday and bank holidays 8am – 10pm. They can be found at:

  • Pallion Health Centre, Hylton Road, Sunderland, SR4 7XF
  • Washington Primary Care Centre, Parkway, Washington, NE38 7QZ
  • Bunny Hill Primary Care Centre, Downhill, Sunderland, SR5 4BW
  • Houghton Primary Care Centre, Houghton-Le-Spring, DH4 5HB


Celebrating our Volunteers at City Hospitals Sunderland

The 1-7 June is Volunteers’ Week an opportunity to celebrate and say thank-you to the volunteers who give so much of their free time to help and support us here at City Hospitals Sunderland.

Volunteers play an important part in our service and care delivery and we know their hard work and friendliness enhance the patient and family/carer experience. Our volunteers are not directly involved in patient care but help provide extra support to patients and staff and we are extremely grateful for all the support we receive. Volunteers are drawn from a variety of groups and backgrounds and often bring with them unique skills which provide a valuable contribution to the Trust. It is hoped that by contributing to services, volunteers will foster better local ownership and act as advocates for the Trust in the local community while providing a valuable addition to a positive patient, carer and visitor experience.

It is also recognised that volunteering has positive benefits for volunteers. There are a number of reasons why people volunteer. For many of our volunteers it is a chance to do something positive and to help others. Others simply have time to spare and wish to give to something that matters to them.

City Hospitals Sunderland actively encourages local people to volunteer their time and talents for the benefit of our patients, staff and visitors. Volunteering can be very rewarding and can be used to develop new skills, confidence and meet new friends. A number of our volunteer team have been actively involved in the PLACE inspections this year as well as participating the Trust Nutrition & Hydration Week helping to serve afternoon tea to the patients.

To show appreciation of the time and commitment our volunteers make we will be holding an event in the hospital Chaplaincy Suite on Friday 2nd June to say a big thank-you to all of our volunteers including:

  • Hospital Navigator Volunteers
  • Ward Helper Volunteers
  • Help and Advice Service Volunteers
  • Chaplaincy Volunteers
  • Macmillan Service Volunteers
  • Royal Voluntary Service Volunteers
  • Hospital Radio Volunteers

We had a successful recruitment drive in 2016 in order to increase our team of volunteers and are looking for new volunteers to join us. If you are interested you can find more about how to become a volunteer here, or search for our latest volunteers vacancies on NHS Jobs.

City Hospitals Sunderland remind patients to choose wisely this bank holiday weekend

City Hospitals Sunderland is reminding patients to think ahead if they need health care advice or services over the bank holiday weekend.

To help ease the pressure at a very busy time of year for A&E departments and the ambulance service, the NHS is asking people with non-emergency health issues to visit a local pharmacy, make a GP appointment or call 111.

In most cases, this will mean people receive the most appropriate advice and care much quicker.

People are also being asked to make sure that their medicine cabinet and first aid kits are well stocked and that repeat prescriptions are collected well before the bank holiday weekend.

Speaking on behalf of NHS organisations, Dr Neil O’Brien, who is chair of the Northern Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Forum said:

“The public responded brilliantly during the ransomware cyber-attack by using our NHS services wisely, and took our advice thinking twice to use alternative forms of help before attending A&E or calling 999.

“Our A&E departments and ambulance service can get extremely busy over bank holidays and we want to ensure that patients who really need emergency care receive the quickest possible treatment they need, and that people who can be cared for elsewhere are not waiting in accident and emergency departments.”

If it’s not an emergency, then there are number of ways to seek help.

There is a wealth of information on NHS Choices website where you can check out symptoms and find advice for treating minor illnesses which usually get better on their own. You can also find information about your local walk-in centres, urgent care centres and minor injuries units by typing in your postcode.

For parents who have children under five years old and need advice on how to identify and treat common childhood illness, download the free NHS child health app.

The app has been developed by local doctors, health visitors and pharmacists and can be downloaded from Google Play or Apple’s App Store, search NHS child health.

Pharmacists are highly experienced clinical processionals, and are often open longer hours in local neighbourhoods. They can provide instant, confidential advice and offer over the counter treatment for minor illnesses, without the need to make an appointment.

For local pharmacy opening hours, over the bank holiday period, people should log onto www.urgentoremergency.co.uk/gp-opening-times

NHS 111 can also provide advice on other local services such as walk in centres and, in some cases, can directly book GP appointments in some areas.

By looking at these alternatives first, patients will receive the most appropriate care and advice and, in most cases, will be seen quicker than if they go to an A&E department.

Sunderland College raise £2K to help dialysis patients!

Sunderland College Travel and Tourism students worked diligently to organise afternoon tea fundraiser on Saturday 6th May, raising more than £2K with matched funding from Barclay to support patients on dialysis at Sunderland Royal Hospital in honour of one of one student’s mothers.

Sunderland College Travel and Tourism 2016/17 students

Gaynor Parmenter has been receiving dialysis treatments at Sunderland Royal’s Renal Unit for 6 years, where she requires 3 hours of dialysis a day. The care she receives already inspired her to undertake fundraising of her own, raising £2.5K in 2014 which helped fund TVs for her fellow dialysis patients.

When daughter Sophie and her fellow Travel and Tourism students were tasked with organising a fundraising event for a local cause, Gaynor’s suggestion for the Renal Unit captured the heart of the class and they settled on raising money to support Gaynor and her fellow patients.

On the day, Gaynor told hospital staff: “The renal unit provide really, really good care and this is a cause very close to my heart. It means a lot to me that the class chose the Renal Unit over other causes because of my connection.

So far the students have raised over £1K for the Renal Unit, with a foundation set to match their efforts and bring the total to well over £2K.

Kelly Mounsey is the students’ lecturer, and said: “We are very proud of the hard work the students put in organising this event and the amount raised is a fantastic achievement for all of them. We were very lucky to have fantastic support from the generous donation of the venue, crockery and raffle prizes – plus all the people behind the scenes who gave up their Saturday afternoon. I know the students are very grateful and ecstatic at the amount they raised.

Dr Saeed Ahmed has been Consultant in Renal Medicine at Sunderland Royal since 2007, and said on behalf of the Renal Unit: “The Renal team are very humbled by the support from Sunderland College’s Travel and Tourism students. It means a lot to the staff that the community are behind them looking after these patients with complex needs. We thank Sunderland College for their genuine support and appreciate and value there contribution to the Renal Unit.

City Hospitals Sunderland Pharmacy Department

City Hospitals Sunderland Pharmacy department employs over 150 staff, including over 80 Pharmacists.

The main pharmacy at Sunderland Royal Hospital houses an in-patient dispensary, the pharmacy store, medicine information office, sterile and non-sterile manufacturing facilities, and offices for our clinical pharmacists. It is the main focus for pharmaceutical services within the Trust and it currently operates a full Integrated Medicines Management service from 8 am until 8 pm Mondays to Fridays and 9am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday  with dispensary support.. Trust directorates include general medicine, medical specialties, elderly care, emergency care, trauma & orthopaedics, critical care, surgery and urology, paediatrics, head and neck, and women’s services. Outpatient facilities are run from a separate dispensary that is operated by CHoICE a wholly owned subsidiary of CHS. They also provide a dispensary based service at the specialist Ophthalmology Hospital.

The service has seen significant change over the past 5 years and now

  • Pharmacy is a clinical service performed by pharmacists at the patient level supported by internal operational functions; the target achieved is over 90% of Pharmacist time being on clinical activities
  • The profile and status of the pharmaceutical service within the Trust is seen as high performing with a significant number of clinical indicators above national norms (see circles of achievement).
  • The 7 day extended hours clinical and technical integrated medicines management service continues to meet the objectives of clinical directorates whilst retaining and developing its own professional aspirations thus remaining attractive to existing and potential staff. All on-call is limited to the senior team only.
  • We have a 7 day front of house team supported by 10 advanced pharmacy practitioners
  • The service operates on the principle of “consult” and “delegate” rather than “triage” and “refer” to ensure patients are seen within the admission stage by the most clinically adept practitioner from advanced to specialist pharmacist supported by a team of 31 IMM technicians

We aim to continue this progress of re-orientating the pharmacy service from what was once a traditional reactive dispensary focused supply service, into a modern leading edge service providing complete medication management at the individual patient level as evidenced by the fact that 80% of pharmacist and pharmacy technician activity is already outwith infrastructure delivery. The developments completed include:

  • Full Integrated medication management including Pre-Assessment Clinics & Consultant Ward Rounds on 30 wards with over 60% medicines reconciliation within 14 hours.
  • Complete Electronic Prescribing and Administration to all inpatients including the majority of outpatient and oncology prescribing
  • Outpatient Anticoagulant Management as well as many pharmacist led clinics in areas Modern Dispensing practices including 28 day dispensing, re-utilisation of POD’s, dispensing for discharge and two fully automated dispensaries.
  • Development of new clinical services by Pharmacists & Technicians including prescribing.
  • >95% of inpatient discharges are completed by pharmacists.
  • Performance indicators set by the Board that are clinically not logistically focused

Clinical Services
Our clinical service is centred around the Integrated Medicines Management (IMM) service which is a term used to describe the clinical pharmacy service that improves the safety and quality of care at key points of the patient’s stay

The following video describes how this is put into action to benefit patients

The aims of the IMM service are

  • To ensure the patient receives the right drug at the right dose at the right time
  • To prepare medication ready for discharge to reduce the amount of time patients have to wait for their medication
  • To improve patient’s knowledge of their medication and improve communication with GPs and community pharmacy about any changes that have occurred during an inpatient stay.
  • To promote the safe and cost effective use of medicines
Newly qualified pharmacists (Band 6) gain broad experience in all aspects of pharmacy through a structured training and rotation programme. The emphasis is on service delivery at the individual patient level with over 90% of pharmacist time spent on clinical commitment throughout their training irrespective of their placement.  You will during this time complete a clinical diploma that incudes clinical skills and independent prescribing.

Specialist clinical pharmacists (Band 7) have defined responsibilities in their speciality and they are supported at ward level by technicians and newly qualified pharmacists. Both pharmacists and technicians have excellent relationships with the ward nursing and medical staff.  As well as delivering patient focused pharmaceutical care including medication histories, consultant ward rounds and discharge planning as part of the multidisciplinary team, they also are expected to participate in practice research and audit.

Senior and Specialist clinical pharmacists, who all have postgraduate qualifications, have a great deal of experience in their speciality. They provide managerial and or clinical leadership and support, which is specifically aimed at developing the professional skills of the clinical pharmacists. They also meet the management information needs of their speciality by leading on audit and drug utilisation research as well as providing and interpreting drug cost information.


Clinic Services
The pharmacist run anticoagulant clinic has won pharmaceutical awards for innovative practice and has expanded both into the community and in the hospital.

Independent prescribers are currently managing patient is outpatient clinics in

  • Diabetes
  • Stroke
  • Cardiology
  • Heart failure
  • Thyroid
  • Pain management
  • Palliative Care
  • Haematology
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • COPD
  • Renal Disease
  • Surgical pre-assessment (Bariatrics)
  • Endocrinology
  • Oncology
  • Opthalmology
  • VTE
  • Falls
  • Dementia
  • Renal
  • Rheumatology

Independent prescribers also support inpatient care for medical and surgical emergency admission units and within A&E. Specialist pharmacists also support the care of inpatients in the following areas – palliative care, frailty, dementia and delirium and heart failure. These chronic disease management clinics and inpatient practitioners provide the template for future service development as described above.


Medicines Information & Formulary Management
The medicines information service supports the safe, effective and efficient use of medicines throughout the trust by the provision of evidence-based information and advice on the therapeutic use of medicines. It is well funded and resourced and is one of the busiest local MI departments in the north-east. The formulary pharmacist produces and monitors compliance to well established prescribing guidelines and supports the clinical pharmacists as necessary with drug utilisation research advice.


Education & Training
The department has a strong commitment to training, illustrated by the success of our staff in gaining further qualifications. The service is actively involved in the delivery of undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and research with local universities including the School of Pharmacy at Sunderland, North Tyneside College and other Education Providers.  All pharmacists are expected to hold and are funded for postgraduate qualifications including clinical skills and prescribing.   Sunderland is a major site for the delivery of clinical training for the School of Pharmacy. Research and audit within the department is well supported by the Research and Audit Group and we have research links with the local School of Pharmacy.


Information Services
The introduction of trust wide electronic prescribing and medicines administration (EPMA) over the last ten years has radically altered the delivery of medicines optimisation within the Trust for both Pharmacists and Technicians. This has helped us achieve a medicines reconciliation rate of 84% within 24 hours, and 87% of all newly prescribed items clinically checked within 48 hours of prescribing. CHS is a global digital exemplar site and initially the only trust within the North-East to be named to pioneer use of digital technology to drive patient improvements.


Dispensary Services
The hospital service currently operates 1 in-house and 2 out-sourced dispensaries which are operationally managed by Senior Technicians, two of which are fully automated, with pharmacists largely providing a professional checking service. A formalised system of authorised technician and dispenser checking has been employed for several years to support the activities.  Total issues are around 600,000 per annum; with a drug spend in the region of £35 million.
The introduction of 28-day dispensing and the technician led re-utilisation of PODs and dispensing for discharge service has increased the level and degree of technician presence at ward level. These services are supported by an Pharmacy Assistant  stock replenishment scheme.


The aseptic unit is licensed for the manufacture of small volume injections and eye drops, but the majority of its work focuses on the supply of ready to administer preparations, including cytotoxics, adult and paediatric parenteral nutrition.


This technician-managed service utilises EDI ordering and places 5000 orders per year to 400 suppliers.


Further Information
If you require additional clarification please contact David Miller, Chief Pharmacist (0191 569 9897), Jill Holden or Jill Davison, Lead Clinical Pharmacist (0191 569 9898) or email David.Miller@chsft.nhs.uk.  We are always happy to arrange an informal visit to speak to our existing staff on the advantages of a hospital pharmacy career at City Hospitals, Sunderland.


National Award for CHoICE Facilities Team

Our CHoICE Facilities team has won the HEFMA (Health Estates and Facilities Management Association) Team of the Year Award for 2017.

The team received the award at the Gala Dinner held at the Majestic Hotel in Harrogate as part of HEFMA’s Annual Leadership Forum. They were up against a shortlist of national NHS providers, but took the top spot for their ‘tremendous desire to build and nurture a collaborative approach with all who they deliver their services to, as well as demonstrating the contribution Support Services play in the overall quality of patient care’.

In addition to the award, the Facilities Team was also given £500 prize money which they have very kindly donated to the City Hospitals Sunderland Charity.

Pictured are:

  • Tim Litherland – President of HEFMA
  • Larry Stores, Head of Facilities
  • Rachael Hutchinson, Hotel Service Manager
  • Claire Dodds, Hotel Service Manager
  • Mark Turner, Head of Portering and Security
  • Wayne Carr, Director of CHoICE Facilities Services
  • Rosemarie Hoyle, Apetito (Sponsors of the Award)


North East and North Cumbria NHS thanks patients and staff for their support over the cyber attack

Media update 4pm 17th May 2017

As NHS organisations across the region start to return to normal services, NHS leaders want to thank patients, NHS staff and their families whose combined efforts has meant the impact on patient care has kept to a minimum.

Patients have been understanding and supportive of the NHS by using services wisely, which allowed local organisations to deal with the cyber-attack and protect their computer systems and therefore recover more quickly.

GP practices across the North East are continuing to ask patients to consider delaying contacting their practice unless they really need to for the rest of the week, so to allow time to clear backlogs caused by the cyber-attack and bring services back to full capacity.

Speaking on behalf of NHS organisations, Dr Neil O’Brien, who is chair of the Northern Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Forum said:

“Across the region’s NHS we’ve heard countless stories of NHS teams and individuals who have gone above and beyond to help deal with the cyber-attack. From NHS frontline staff in hospitals, IT and support staff, GP and practice staff, community pharmacists, out of hours doctors and their teams, NHS 111, paramedics and emergency call teams – our staff response has been nothing short of superb.

Dr O’Brien continued: “I’d like to particularly thank the families of our staff also, they have supported their relative at home to allow them to come to work and respond in the way they did.

“I would also like to thank our local and regional journalists and media organisations, who have played an important role in getting essential messages out. This without doubt played a critical role in helping public and patients understand the situation and what they needed to do for their own health needs.

“We do need to understand why this has happened and it is important that work to gain insight is carried out in a co-ordinated way with all NHS partners and this will take some time.”

Dr O’Brien concluded: “How we have responded to this situation just shows how our whole NHS community is greater than the simple sum of its parts, and makes us all proud to serve our patients and public together, making sure they get the best and safest healthcare possible.”

Although the NHS is starting to return to normal, the public is still asked to think before using A&E, GP practices or calling NHS 111 and to use services wisely.


NHS Cyber Attack – City Hospitals Sunderland update – Tuesday 16th May

Following the international cyber-attack on Friday, IT systems at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Trust have been restored and we are running all hospital services as normal.

Whilst we were not directly affected, we did take a number of precautions to protect our systems, which had an impact on telephone systems, email and internet connection.

Please continue to attend all appointments unless you are told not to. Minor illness or ailments can be treated at home, or you can visit your local pharmacy for help and advice. If you feel unwell and need to be seen immediately, you can contact your GP or call NHS 111. Services are very busy at the moment, so if you are able to wait until later in the week for an appointment, please do so and help us to alleviate the current pressures.

A&E and the 999 service should only be used where there is an immediate threat to life or limb. This includes:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Significant blood loss
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Suspected stroke
  • Severe burns
  • Choking

Thank you for your patience and understanding. For the latest updates on how this is affecting the NHS across the north east, visit www.urgentoremergency.co.uk/update.